Michael Lesiecki, Host

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Agility and Resilience in the Modern Workforce

Amanda Falvey, Director of Human Resources, BRP Marine Group
December 2019 | 00:17:22
Episode 12 Transcript and Show Notes

What are employers looking for in a technician candidate? And how do they find those new hires? One approach, used at BRP, Inc., involves a partnership between several companies...

and Gateway Technical College.Together they’ve developed a one-year Motorcycle, Marine, and Outdoor Power Product program that feeds the local technician pipeline. As with most employers, what they’re looking for is hands-on experience but also a willingness to learn. Do they bring the immediate skills that they need in order to be successful in a role? Do they bring the ability and knowledge to transform and come on that journey with as the company changes?

The Customer: Driver of Future Change

Sarah Nicastro, Field Service Evangelist, Future of Field Service blog and podcast
November 2019 | 00:21:24
Episode 11 Transcript and Show Notes

The drivers for the changes and investments businesses make have always been centered on reducing costs and increasing productivity. Those things are obviously still very, very important. But what has surfaced is a real focus on the customer.

Service companies have realized that customer centricity is critical to their success and field service plays a pivotal role in the customer experience. There are certain industries in which a field technician may be the only real face of the brand that the customer sees. This means that not only has the field technician's world changed in terms of the tools they're using, but even more importantly, in terms what it takes for them to deliver the desired customer experience.

Digital Transformation

Mike Lesiecki, Co-PI, NSF ATE Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work
October 2019 | 00:20:29
Episode 10 Transcript, Show Notes, and Digital Transformation Activity

The forecasts for job loss and job creation over the next few years include the latest new job title, “Digital Transformation Specialist.” What does this person do? Who hires them? And what...

qualifications are important? Digital transformation means challenging a company’s technology status quo. It requires the usual technical skills -- analysis, diagnostics, testing, and documentation – plus excellent communication skills. A Digital Transformation Specialist (or Associate, or Technician) must be able to educate their team members who are engineers, IT staff, and other technicians about the value and use of new technologies. With the rapid pace at which technology is advancing, expect to see this position appearing in many job search sites.

The Year in Review

Project Leadership Team, NSF ATE Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work, guests
September 2019 | 00:17:13
Episode 9 Transcript and Show Notes

As the Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work project celebrates its first birthday, it’s time to stop and ask, “What have we learned?” and “What have we accomplished?” Some highlights of Year 1 include:

  • Piloting an industry site visit/interview protocol and interviewing technicians, technician supervisors, and mid‐level managers,
  • Producing informative content exploring industry, education, and human resource issues relevant to the Future of Work,
  • Identifying three broad, cross‐cutting skill areas that should be included as “new fundamentals” in STEM technician training programs, and
  • Convening meetings of ATE Center Directors and industry leaders to examine the Future of Work at the human‐technology interface from multiple perspectives.

Stay tuned for Year 2!

Digital Twins

Gerry Deren, VP, Academic Enablement, Siemens, guest
August 2019 | 00:17:20
Episode 8 Transcript and Show Notes

Technology allows people who are building and developing things to do it in virtual space, the digital space, and then to use the information from that exact duplicate and build the part. Companies are looking for ways to get a competitive

advantage and that’s the promise of the digital twin. You can now simulate the manufacturing of that part, make a change, and see where it works and where it doesn’t before investing in its production. The collaboration between manufacturing engineers has also improved in areas such as end-to-end information flow and teamwork.

Smarter and More Independent Robots

Lou Frenzel, Technology Editor, Electronics Design, guest
July 2019 | 00:14:51
Episode 7 Transcript and Show Notes

Machine learning and artificial intelligence help robots become smarter and more aware of their surroundings, so that they can work on their own. As they become more independent and can make the decisions on their own,

productivity should improve. But at the same time that robots are becoming more versatile, they are also becoming more complex. A different technician skill set will be needed. As some tasks are assumed by robots, new tasks in robot maintenance and programming will evolve. And hopefully technicians can upskill to meet these new technological challenges.

Silver Buckshot: A Micro-Credentials Approach to Training and Education

Timothy Thomas, Mohawk Valley Community College, guest
June 2019 | 00:17:00
Episode 6 Transcript and Show Notes

What if a student would like to earn credit in bite-sized pieces? What if employers valued shorter-time, competency-based credentials? Micro-credentials might be an answer.

Intrigued? Podcast guest Timothy Thomas says that learning opportunities need to shift to be more personalized, more practical, more applied, and nimbler. After working with industry to design their initial AAS degree in Unmanned Aerial Systems Technology, he then asked them whether they would find value in shorter-term, competency-based credentials. This gave birth to the micro-credential, a sequence of 9-15 credit hours, often 3 courses, designed to facilitate the attainment of a single competency. The road to micro-credentialing was not easy. There were faculty and departments to convince this was a wise course of action. Thomas graciously shared the language that Mohawk Valley adopted to describe their micro-credentials so you can get a head start!

Taking a Journey to the Future

Brynt Parmeter and Emily McGrath, NextFlex
and Tate, FlexFactor participant, guests

May 2019 | 00:23:01
Episode 5 Transcript and Show Notes

How can industry inspire students to envision themselves working in advanced manufacturing? And how can colleges attract and recruit students into existing high-tech career pathways programs? One approach,

FlexFactor, combines strategic collaboration between organizations and student-led experiential learning to spark interest and spur recruitment. The program reaches students—the workforce of the future—through plant and college tours and problem-solving activities that can be integrated into classroom instruction in any subject. The industry and academic partnerships encourage students to consider potential careers so that they can make informed decisions about career pathways that will lead them to become competitive hires.

Design Thinking for Gender Equity

Alexa Frank and Rachael Munkacsi, Deloitte,
and Hope Cotner, CORD, guests

April 2019 | 00:28:52
Episode 4 Transcript and Show Notes

Gender equity is a critical issue for both education and industry as we face the future of work. In this episode, we discuss how strategies for encouraging equitable representation of women in high-tech...

industry sectors might be replicable in STEM and technology programs at two-year technical and community colleges. Deloitte, one of the world's largest management consulting firms, has been very active and forward-thinking in providing insights to future of work discussions. Lessons learned from their work on designing equality in the workplace can be applied to the classroom environment and are potentially scalable to department and college levels.

One of the Key Things to Measure — OEE

Mariano Carreras, SMC International Training, guest
March 2019 | 00:19:17
Episode 3 Transcript

A gap may exist between industry practice and what our students learn and practice in our education environment if they don’t learn about Overall Equipment Effectiveness. Today nearly every industry is digitally transforming itself whether they're producing biopharmaceuticals,

semiconductor chips, corn chips, or cellphones. The accompanying high levels of automation and sensors monitoring every process and every piece of equipment generates an unbelievable amount of data. This data can help answer the questions, "How efficient are we?" And "Can we be better?"

Who Owns the Skills Gap?

Al Carlson, University of Florida, Innovation Station, guest
February 2019 | 00:14:46
Episode 2 Transcript and Show Notes

Over the last ten years, the skills gap has increasingly been the subject of business roundtables, government agency forums and think tank research. Employers report struggling to find new workers with...

the skills they need. This means that both entry-level employees and incumbent workers need upskilling. Our guest in this episode says that if you think you're going to hire somebody off the street that knows how to press every button, forget it. So who owns this skills gap?

Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work — The Challenges

Michael Lesiecki, host
January 2019 | 00:15:02
Episode 1 Transcript

For many of today’s technicians the Future of Work is already in focus. They are cross-disciplinary workers, immersed in diverse platforms and interrelated systems that once belonged to single industry sectors.

This podcast series will explore the horizons of work from the perspective of industry partners, two-year college educators, technicians and NSF ATE leaders who are working together to transform technician education.